Thursday, 18 September 2014

Salmonids in the Classroom

The whole reason we started studying human anatomy is because we wanted to dissect a salmon!  Yup L's daddy is a super fisherman and we are usually up close and personal with fish all summer so salmon dissection was a natural thing to want to do.  I figured it would be best to learn about human anatomy so we could compare and contrast.

While searching for info on salmon dissection I just happened upon this amazing program called Salmonids in the classroom.  It was created by the Canadian department of fisheries and is an online collection of lesson plans and experiments covering everything you could possibly ever want to know about salmon.  For free!!  Here is the link.

The best part is that we teamed up with another homeschooling boy(A) of the same age who also went through Montessori.  We meet each week and go through different topics.

First off we talked about the salmon life cycles and compared it to other life cycles.  We discussed what salmon need to survive compared to other species.

Next we learned about how fish are shaped and experimented with making clay models of different shapes including an excellent fish shape created by A.  They children compared how each shape moved through the water and the overwhelming answer was the fish shape.  It really was incredible how easily the fish moved through the water and how it easily could be moved up and down.

Next was learning about the salmon external anatomy.  We did an experiment on how gills work using coffee grains and water in one cup poured over a paper towel into another cup.  The coffee grains represented the oxygen in the water and how some of it was absorbed by the paper towel(gills) while the water and other oxygen was passed through.  
Did you know that salmon use their sense of smell to find their home stream?

After external anatomy we delved into internal anatomy.  The children wrote labels for each part of the fish to use for the dissection and we compared salmon body parts to humans.  Fascinating!  Do you know what a swim bladder is? We do now!

The day of the big salmon dissection we invited A's family over for a BBQ.  L's daddy did the dissecting the all the children were right in there.  They labelled all of the parts and then went through the organs one by one.  Our fish turned out to be a female and had tons of eggs!

It was such a wonderful hands on learning experience for everyone and the best part is that we ate the rest of the salmon for dinner!
Up next salmon scales, eggs and so much more.....


  1. So cool. I'm thoroughly enjoying your learning adventures. I want to be 6 again. Have you heard of Gyotaku?

  2. Hi Nduoma I'm glad you are enjoying our adventures. I just Google Gyotaku and it's absolutely fascinating. Would love to try this but not sure if my husband can catch any more fish as the season is almost over. If not we'll certainly try it next year.
    Thank you for making me aware of this beautiful art form!